The Sochi Network

Cool runnings indeed! Jamaican team qualify for Olympics, but require urgent funding

The Sochi Network

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Jamaica's Winston Watts and Marvin Dixon have qualified to pilot a bobsled at next month's Olympics as a hugely popular two-man team.

Rejoice! "Now people can believe, Jamaica has a bobsleigh team!"

Without pretty urgent additional funding, however, the island's latest team of celebrated heroes might not actually appear in the Sochi Games. It would represent something of a travesty.

The Jamaican Olympic Association offers the bobsleigh team little funding. Therefore Watts and Dixon have launched a number of fundraising initiatives, including setting up a PayPal account for donations.

Their official account linked the current team back to the famous 'Cool Runnings' crop which attracted a tremendous amount of attention and nostalgia following the Disney movie.

John Turteltaub's cult classic 1993 film starring John Candy was loosely based on the story of the team's qualification for the 1988 Winter Olympics and will forever be remembered fondly, but Watts and Dixon have it all to do if they are to raise sufficient funding for their own adventure.

"In truth, we still don't really know at the moment if we'd even have enough funds or sponsorship to fly to Sochi itself for the Games itself," Watts told the Daily Telegraph.

"It all depends. Our families need to be taken care of first. If there's no funding, who knows? But I'm one of life's optimists.

"Hopefully, the Jamaican Olympic Association will step in and support us now that we've qualified."

The spirit lives on in the island nation and if Watts and Dixon, a former sprinter from Kingston, are able to make their way to Russia, it would be Jamaica's first Olympic appearance in the bobsleigh since 2002.

There is every reason for celebration at their having already qualified for the Olympic Games in Sochi, but there is now every chance that a lack of funding could scupper the whole dream.

The 46-year-old driver, Watts, came out of retirement and raised a great deal of the pair's money himself with personal endeavours - he more than anyone deserves a chance to perform in Sochi.

However, the team did not even have enough money to fly to St Moritz this weekend to compete in the final qualifying event.

That being said, when there is a lucky egg to be kissed their fortunes could yet turn around in their favour.

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